Jun 8, 2010

Radical (A Book Review)

I just finished the book Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream by David Platt.  I have had the privilege of being familiar with David Platt's ministry for several years now when I recently served in the same are as him.  He is the pastor of The Church of Brook Hills in Birmingham.  TCABH is a large, contemporary congregation in an affluent area and had a growing ministry before Dr. Platt's arrival as Senior Pastor.  However, Platt has turned this church upside-down for the gospel.  I have several friends who have been active and affiliated with TCABH for several years that speak personally of the dramatic and powerful challenges that Dr. Platt has issued.

David Platt is a guy who fully practices what he preaches.  Before coming to Brook Hills, Platt was personally walking a "radical" faith and being used of God to reach the nations.  Platt has been on many mission endeavors to some of the riskiest areas of the world.  His successful program Secret Church was borne out of his experiences with the underground church in China.  He writes often in the book about experiences in Indonesia, Africa, and other remote places.  In addition, Platt and his wife have adopted children to further exhibit the gospel to the world. 

I was excited to hear that Platt was going to be publishing a book and not surprised at all by its title or content.  I was challenged by some friends to listen to some of the sermons from last year and earlier this year that this book was bourne out of.  Platt's preaching style is honest, passionate, rooted in Scripture, deeply theological and missional.  His writing mirrors his preaching.  Radical is a piercing book.  It forces the reader to confront the idolatry, materialism, and shallow gospel that has plagued the American brand of Christianity for far too long.  Put simply, the church most exemplified in America has become fat and lazy.  We have fed too long on a diet of shallow, sugar-coated sermons about having our best life now and have actually grown to love and excuse our wasteful extravagence with pious christianeze.  Platt's book is another is a growing line of books that call the church back to biblical discipleship where Christ is valued above any treasure or earthly relationship.  I am thankful for books like Francis Chan's Crazy Love, John MacArthur's The Gospel According to Jesus and The Jesus You Can't Ignore, John Piper's God is the Gospel and Let the Nations Be Glad, and John Stott's The Living Church.  Platt's book will challenge you, disturb you, and ultimately break you.  One thing for sure is that you will not leave just saying "That was a good book" but doing nothing about it.

The best thing about Radical is that is not just a theoretical book.  It is a book bourne out of the hard preaching and life-changing ministry occuring at Platt's church.  It is filled with stories of members of this church who have seen and experienced God calling them to a radically new level of obedience and faith.  Platt has issued The Radical Experiment to his church in 2010 and thousands have embraced and are following it.  TCABH will send out hundreds of people this year to mission endeavors around the globe.  Several families of the church are selling their affluent houses and moving into the city of Birmingham to impact the city.  This is more than a book, it is a clarion call to a deeper discipleship and obedience to impact the nations for Christ.  This book will be required reading at my church soon.  I urge you to pick up a copy of Radical soon.  Better still, don't pick up a copy unless you are ready to have your world shaken and forced to an immediate decision of whether you truly will follow Jesus or not.